Showcasing how a deep dive into a local education brand can engage schools and create beautiful, meaningful results that could impact thousands of children across the UK.
How do they make a difference?
There aren’t many Multi Academy Trusts quite like Connect. Formed in 2016, the trust now consists of eight primary schools in Plymouth and Torbay, a family of like-minded academies who support each other and share resources. But it’s not just the unique family-feel that stands them out. A truly future-focused mentality has inspired a move to create the UK’s first ever Ocean Conservation Curriculum – partnering with experts at the National Marine Aquarium and Ocean Conservation Trust to bring new levels of practical and exciting opportunities for the schools and their pupils.
What we did?
Briefed to reflect the trust’s DNA in a new logo and website, we started by engaging with head teachers across the trust to show the amazing possibilities of brand (and to work out exactly what that DNA really looked like, to them). Our brand strategy process drew out key attributes and attitudes that really ran deep. At the core, primary education combines academic learning with play. With a heart for getting their hands dirty and making a difference, Connect’s preferred brand idea from three presented was based around the mess and joy of creative learning, and the uniqueness of natural textures.
Four textures familiar to anyone who has attended a primary school were chosen to represent the four core personality pillars (renamed anchors to fit with their aquatic theme) that make up the trust – Nurturing, Trailblazing, Empowering and Principled. Each of these was used to create a custom family of fonts and backgrounds, and each texture became a segment of the bold, C shaped logo.
Our audit of the Connect website, combined with our understanding of who they were talking to and how they wanted to come across, led to a comprehensive redesign of the user experience of the site. Full structural designs were implemented, building in graphic elements from the brand alongside stunning photography and videography (in partnership with Tom Carder Media). The result? A site that stands head and shoulders above any other local MAT; visually engaging, communicating clear personality and benefits, and appeasing the search engine requirements too!
How did this make a difference?
School staff immediately engaged with the identity – the excitement and positivity was infectious as they saw everything they already loved about their trust come to life. The anchors and brand manifesto were immediately adopted into everyday conversations, and the unity that they already shared was magnified and energised. As a trust they are already looking to grow again, and have a strong foundation on which to communicate their value, and the website has quickly multiplied their visibility, showing excellent early results. The new curriculum is in process – again, building on principles outlined in the brand process.
In Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, Connect saw the opportunity to take a proactive lead in teaching about the impact of the ocean on the planet as a whole. Unique ecosystems and habitats, fascinating wildlife, and human interaction with the seas all provide awe-inspiring opportunities for learning, and set the tone for new generations of young people’s attitude to sustainability.
The innovative ocean curriculum is already being taught in Connect’s eight Devon primary schools, with the intention to expand the offering as a resource for schools and trusts across the country. We continue to work with the trust to build the curriculum materials into the most effective and engaging form possible.
“Working with Upshot over the past 9 months has transformed the brand, outlook and visual imagery of our Trust of 8 large primary schools. Throughout the process, Upshot have taken the time to really get to know and understand Connect, while being professional, flexible and creative at the same time.”
Stuart Bellworthy, CEO and Trust Team Leader, Connect Academy Trust